Thielert: How To Kill A Company (Maybe Two)

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Owners of more than 800 diesel-powered Diamond aircraft are collectively holding their breath to find out how—or even if—their expensive engines will be supported following the disastrous financial meltdown and bankruptcy of Thielert last month. One question gnawing at these owners and owners of Cessnas and Pipers converted to Thielert diesels is whether the engine is technically and financially viable.

That answer came swiftly and certainly this week from the legal firm overseeing the Thielert insolvency: The engine doesn't have a prayer of surviving in the market and is effectively flat lined. Kuebler—the bankruptcy company—didn't say this in plain language, of course, but following a surprisingly quick audit of the company, it published a list of parts and replacement prices that are so absurdly high as to make the engine unsustainable. Given Kuebler's proposed economics, it would almost be cheaper to operate a Lycoming by having the avgas shipped in via FedEx to those parts of the world where only Jet A is available.

To appreciate Kuebler's off-the-mark grasp of the potential market, you need to understand Thielert's original business model, which is itself still unproven but appeared to be at least affordable. Approaching diesel technology cautiously, Thielert's cost structure was based on a 1000-hour TBR or time between replacement. But the engine and parts prices were—somewhat confusingly to everyone involved—pro-rated on a 2400-hour model. During the 1000-hour run, several key and expensive components had to be inspected and/or replaced at intervals, including the gear reduction box, the clutch, high pressure feed pump and the alternator. The gear box, for instance, was a 300-hour inspect/replace item, but the cost of doing this maintenance was built into the warranty structure. That means that when a Diamond DA42 owner came up on the 300-hour requirement, it was already built into the purchase price. The owner suffered downtime, but the majority of the costs were theoretically covered.

Now comes Kuebler to revise the rules in such a way as to leave owners not just in the cold, but with virtually no financial support of any kind. We're told that as of mid-May, a Thielert 2.0 diesel still costs about 33,000 Euros or just over $52,000. That sounds like a huge sum and it is-- twice the cost of a Lycoming overhaul for equivalent horsepower. But the diesel's fuel specifics are favorable enough to offset the higher cost over an avgas engine on a lifecycle basis. Or at least they used to be.

Now, Thielert no longer warrants the engines or parts. When you come up on the 300-hour gearbox requirement, they'll sell you a new one at $16,000 or an inspected one for $7800—if you wire the money to Germany upfront and arrange for your own shipping. On your Maalox-powered run to the 1000-hour TBR, you get to do that three times, plus the cost of the pumps, alternator, shipping and who knows what else. If you go to 2400 hours on the new 2.0 engine, do it seven times. The gearboxes alone have the potential of more than doubling the cost of the engine to nearly $100 an hour—and that's before you buy fuel. What this means, in my view, is that Thielert's management needed help in killing the company for good, Kuebler seems to be providing it. The part about no warranty support for anything is especially galling to owners.

"Does this mean that if I buy a $16,000 gearbox that's no good, my only recourse is to buy another one?" one angry owner asked me this week. It evidently means exactly that, which is why Diamond, in a bulletin to owners, accused the bankruptcy firm of being more interested in short term cash flow than long term survival of Thielert and making its customers reasonably whole.

The economic impact of this, if it continues, will be widespread, stunning and terminal, in my view. First, the basic numbers are simply untenable. Thielert's Centurion 1.7 engine is maintenance hungry when everything is going right. With Thielert's bankruptcy, the pro-ration dissolved so now owners are on their own for support.

The bankruptcy overseer may assume the high prices will fly because a captive market means no one else can provide the parts and engines. Thielert, unfortunately, retains an iron-grip on the type certificates and there is thus far no aftermarket parts manufacturing authority, as there is with Lycoming and Continental. Kuebler seems to assume that this means owners will pay anything to keep their airplanes flying. In this, the bankruptcy administrator may be proven disastrously wrong. Owners probably won't pay these prices because they are profoundly uneconomic.

"I'm not paying another dollar," says Stan Fetter, who operates a pair of Thielert-converted Cessna 172s in Maryland. He's coming up on a timed out engine on one of the Skyhawks and a gearbox replacement on another. Like other owners, Fetter says the bankruptcy administrator is mistaken if it assumes owners will wire money to Germany to pay for parts upfront that are then not warranted. Some owners might, out of desperation, but probably not enough to turn Thielert around.

What they will do—and one told us he intends to do just this—is seek legal remedies. Since Thielert is insolvent, the most likely target will be Diamond Aircraft and its distributors, which sold the diesel-equipped airplanes in the first place. But this promises to be a blind alley with a high price tag, since aircraft sales contracts specifically assign warranty support for engines and avionics to the manufacturers. Yes, we all know it doesn't work that way with cars, but airplane sales exist in their own little cu de sac in the village of the damned and in the euphoria of buying a new airplane, owners often overlook this.

What's puzzling is why Kuebler is pursuing a strategy which is almost certain to quench the very sales they need to bring the company back from the dead. Presumably, Kuebler profits if the company recovers or if new investment Euros are found. Or does Kuebler think liquidation is the best strategy? If so, they seem to be on the fast track to get there. (And by the way, I asked—e-mails and phone calls to Kuebler weren't answered.)

And captive market or not, Kuebler doesn't have forever to sort this out. Driving up aggressively from the rear is Diamond principal Christian Dries and the Austro engine project, which is now in full swing. Austro plans to offer certified engines based on technology related to the same Mercedes-Benz engines Thielert used. Approval in the European market is planned for this summer. Austro now has new urgency to move this project forward at the fastest possible pace.

The longer Thielert/Kuebler dither around with this absurd price structure, the more erosion it will suffer on its installed base, if the base even represents a large enough market to be worth resurrecting given Austro overhanging the largest share—the 800-plus Diamond airframes already out there. Cessna represents an unknown here, but I don't think it can be counted on to represent long-term steady sales for Thielert, at least at Kuebler's fantasy prices. Who wants to own a 172 with no engine warranty and the requirement for a $100-an-hour engine reserve? (For an equivalent Lycoming, $12 is generous.)

Besides, if the Austro engines are more powerful, have better fuel specifics and affordable prices, as Diamond thinks they might, the Thielert engines will look like also rans. In some ways, Cessna dodged the bullet here. Its diesel project was immature enough to represent little exposure, so it's throttled back and announced no deliveries this year. (Not that it had a choice, in my opinion.)

What should owners do? Realistically, all they can do is sit tight and see what develops. Legal action against Diamond is an option, but it will be slow going, expensive and won't get engines and parts flowing any faster. Diamond has already been rebuffed by Kuebler after it offered to buy a large stock of engines and parts upfront to support owners—just what the struggling Thielert really needs to get back to solvency, you'd think.

"This is just the first inning of a very long ballgame," Fred Ahles, owner of Premier Aircraft, told me earlier this week. Ahles is a Diamond dealer, but with years in the industry, he has been through Piper's bankruptcy, Cessna's retraction and the Lycoming crankshaft fiasco. He believes the Thielert diesel crisis will also be sorted out, but not quickly. With so many high-priced airframes out there, there's too much value to simply walk away from.

And although owners might wish to do exactly that, the best strategy is to simply wait it out. We expect more developments next week at the Berlin Airshow.

Comments (35)

Anyone considering buying anything (from a needle to a space shuttle) would be extremely hesitant about buying the product without warranty, unless it was really cheap. What I want to know is what are they thinking?!? My opinion is that Thielert will not recover unless they reinstate the warranty they had before as a bare minimum.

There a lot of car dealerships that are extremely successful. Each new customer is looked apon as having the potential of spending $1 million at the dealership over their lifetime, so policies are in place to ensure this is likely to happen. Thielert should do the same, even if it means they sell their engines for rock bottom prices and give the service any customer should expect.

Posted by: Duncan Clement | May 24, 2008 5:05 AM    Report this comment

The position that Thielert/Kuebler has taken to literally strand rather that offer some kind of realistic support or help to the very people that made the company what it is(was)is unthinkable. If there is any hope for Thielert/Kuebler to survive it will not be with the support of it's present customers who are literally being robbed.

Posted by: Andy James | May 26, 2008 8:34 AM    Report this comment

A couple of points: 1. Kuebler's responsibility is to the creditors of Thielert, not the customers. That's what bankruptcy administration is all about - recovering as much of the creditors' money as possible. There's no obligation to attempt to continue the business, unless that's seen to be a way of recovering more of the creditors' cash. Note that if an attempt is made to continue in business, the creditors are acting as investors in the company; Thielert has been shown to be a very bad investment, up to now - why would the administrator take this risky approach? His sound financial judgement is what gets him his next job.

... continues...

Posted by: Ceri Reid | May 26, 2008 9:06 AM    Report this comment

... continued ....

2. We only see half the picture (the customers' viewpoint); we haven't seen Thielert's accounts, which were evidently scary enough that the previous MD and CFO felt they had to misrepresent them. My guess is that Kuebler have decided that the Thielert business model is hopelessly unrealistic, and that the warranty mechanism that made the engine an (almost) attractive option is one of the primary reasons for this. I'd guess that Thielert were losing money hand over fist on warranty claims, and that every engine sale therefore represented a large net loss to the company (once the warranty period was taken into account).

This being the case, Kuebler has no alternative to their current approach. You might disagree with their actual pricing for the replacement parts they have in stock - but those prices are probably realistic (i.e. based on the fabrication costs, the number on hand, and the number of installed engines).

Kuebler are effectively serving notice that - based on the accounts that they've perused - this engine was never financially viable and will not continue to be manufactured. It's not part of their job to consider the feelings or pocketbooks of Thielert's customers.

Posted by: Ceri Reid | May 26, 2008 9:07 AM    Report this comment

As I recall, wasn't there a version of the Twin Star that used Continental IO-240 engines? Would it be an option to remove the diesels and convert to the Continentals?

Posted by: Paul Siegel | May 26, 2008 12:44 PM    Report this comment

A class-action lawsuit sounds like an attempt to squeeze blood from a turnip. In most such suits, the only beneficiaries are the attorneys.

Posted by: Michael Busch | May 26, 2008 2:09 PM    Report this comment

This entire situation seems to be another example of the comsumer being screwed again by overly zealous management that may have even had their hands in the cookie jar. Of equal concern, and up to this point not even mentioned is what is going to happem to Superioe Air Parts?

Posted by: Al Dyer | May 26, 2008 3:55 PM    Report this comment

Sorry Paul Bertorelli, but you don't understand german insolvency procedures. There is no company protection like chapter 11 in USA and the first task of Kuebler ("the bankruptcy company") is to get as much as possible for the creditors (and to easily and quickly get his own percentage from that fire sale!). Ceri Reid has perfectly described it in the post above. Legal actions? Forget it! Even if you win a lawsuit, it takes years and then you get what is left over by the creditors and by the bankruptcy company: NOTHING!

Posted by: Bernd Schnappinger | May 26, 2008 4:08 PM    Report this comment

If no one is trying to figure out how to do an STC for a couple of Lycoming O-360's, you have to wonder why.

What ever happened to the prototype that was flying with the lycomings when everyone was waiting for the Thielert's to become Certified by the FAA?

Someone already mentioned Superior, Talk about bad timeing and judgement in letting themselves get bought up.

Posted by: Thomas Inglima | May 26, 2008 7:46 PM    Report this comment

Dr. Bruno M Kubler released a statement today. The full text of the statement is here: http://web.thielert.com/typo3/index.php?id=530&backPID=530&tt_news=1235&L=1

The part that interests me is:

"The current disconcertion on the part of the customers is attributable to a disinformation campaign initiated by the airplane manufacturer Diamond Aircraft. In the past few days Diamond repeatedly let it be said that I was not very cooperative in negotiations and did not seem very interested in securing the TAE business in the long term.

This argumentation is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. In actual fact, Diamond offered to buy a large number of engines and spare parts – but at a price considerably lower than the price that would be charged to the end customer. That’s how Diamond tried to negotiate special conditions. Diamond has not yet directly responded to our offer dating from May 13, 2008, in which ninety percent of the required spare parts available would be delivered to Diamond. Now that more than one week has passed, we will release the parts for the market.

...Continues

Posted by: Kyle Dobbs | May 27, 2008 12:25 PM    Report this comment

... continued

And the demand is still high: since the beginning of the insolvency proceedings, many binding spare parts orders have been confirmed and have either already been delivered or will be delivered in the near future. The customers whom we have supplied were all relieved that the necessary parts are in stock and that they were delivered accordingly.

We also submitted a far-reaching proposal to Diamond Aircraft for the supply of new engines for the production of Diamond airplanes. This offer – which we continue to stand by – provides for immediate resumption of deliveries of Thielert engines on a large scale. Thus Diamond would be able to resume its own production again within only a few days.

Instead Diamond has been trying – against all better judgment and making untrue statements without exception – to make customers feel massively insecure and to put pressure on me by appealing to the public. This was combined with personal attacks against me that clearly constitute a breach of propriety. Thus Diamond is playing poker here at the expense of its own customers."

Any comments?

Posted by: Kyle Dobbs | May 27, 2008 12:25 PM    Report this comment

Another very relevant portion of the statement: " German insolvency law does not permit the assumption of warranties or guarantees free of charge for products and services supplied prior to the declaration of insolvency."

Posted by: Ceri Reid | May 27, 2008 12:43 PM    Report this comment

May 27, 2008

Statement by Dr. Bruno M. K bler, on the occasion of the press conference of Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH ILA, Berlin - Ladies and Gentlemen,

Insolvency proceedings represent a real caesura for all of the parties concerned. For the entrepreneur who must fear the loss of a life’s work. For the creditors – primarily banks and suppliers – who suffer the loss of a lot of money and, to the extent that it has an impact on the latter, they are not infrequently threatened in their existence. Not to mention the shareholders, who as a rule must sacrifice their capital. And the customers as well, who are dependent on the support of the insolvent company. And not least of all the employees whose jobs are threatened.

As the insolvency administrator of Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH (TAE) it is my task to weigh these various and conflicting interests against each other. In accordance with German insolvency law I am first and foremost committed to the interests of the creditors. At the same time, the competent legislators place a further emphasis on rescuing the company and the attendant jobs.

Posted by: Paul Davis | May 27, 2008 2:03 PM    Report this comment

continued:

As far as the position of the company’s founder is concerned, there are some who are of the opinion that Mr. Thielert should no longer appear here in public because of the criminal accusations that have been levied against him. In this regard I would like to note that we are still in the stage of the provisional insolvency proceedings and that Mr. Thielert is still the managing director. He also continues to be the personal holder of permits under aviation law, such as those for the company’s manufacturing and maintenance operations. The German Federal Office of Aviation, with which talks have taken place, currently sees no reason to demand any changes in personnel under Supervisory Board provisions. Insofar Mr. Thielert continues to be responsible for the tasks associated with the aforementioned permits.

As far as my own person is concerned, in my office as the provisional insolvency administrator I am a neutral administrator of the office as appointed by the court. Management of the company in the person of Mr. Thielert requires my approval for any and all financial measures. The overall power of administration and disposal over the company passes to the administrator only with final opening of the proceedings that are planned for the end of June 2008. In all other respects the provisional – and the final administrator – is not responsible for any criminal investigations. This is solely the responsibility of the public prosecutor’s office.

Posted by: Paul Davis | May 27, 2008 2:05 PM    Report this comment

the rest is on:

http://web.thielert.com/typo3/index.php?id=530&backPID=530&tt_news=1235&L=1

Posted by: Paul Davis | May 27, 2008 2:06 PM    Report this comment

Sad, sad, sad.

I have been anxiously watching the 'GA diesel engine' story for a number of years now and consider Thielert's bankruptcy to be a significant set back.

Although I feel that somehow the situation will right itself, the damage has been done in the respect that the business components will be pieced back together long before the technology moves forward.

This is the price Western culture pays when less than 10% of the college graduates are engineers, too may clowns popping out of tail end of the higher education pipe line with business degrees - and all they seam to learn is another way to skin the cat. Idiots as such should have become plumbers or clerks.

I don't think Thielert is alone in what they pulled, they just got caught. I am of the opinion that if every company received close scrutiny the percentage of like wise business tactics would be astonishingly high.

Our world is standing on the threshold of a very much needed new technological age and all that's coming forward are charlatans.

Posted by: Bill Kossowan | May 28, 2008 6:39 AM    Report this comment

The model is not financially sustainable because of the reinspection program and that is why they went bankrupt. Anyone who bought into Thielert did so with the assumption that the reispection program was temporary, and I am sure that Thielert only offered to do free 300 hours gearbox maintenence with the belief that it was only short term solution and was only required as part of the certification process. The goal was to have 2400 TBO without maintenance after the engine proved itself. The engine itself was flawed from the start. Efficiency from diesel comes from low RPM. Truck engines now run at between 1200 and 1500 RPM at full power. Propeller efficiency also comes at low RPM and with a direct drive. Why on earth did they think that a high reving engine driven through a reduction unit would work? A Big bore Continental Engine run Lean of Peak operates at about the same specific fuel consumption. I think that the model doesn't work and never could. It's time to move on.

Posted by: Marc Charron | May 28, 2008 6:54 AM    Report this comment

http://www.avweb.com/avwebbiz/news/DiamondGuiltyOfDisinformation_SaysThielert_197982-1.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

Posted by: Paul Davis | May 28, 2008 8:28 AM    Report this comment

Just a quick note about Thielert customer warranty claims and their legitimacy in an insolvency case. Thielert may prefer, now, to consider engine warranties to have been free "perks" given to customers as an incentive to buy. Rather, as everyone in the manufacturing business is keenly aware, the cost of a warranty is included in the purchase price of the end product. The warranty itself affects the purchasie price of the product -- the result of a careful actuarial analysis by the compnay. Certainly, Dr. Kubler will insure that Theilert's warranty-cost workpapers and internal analyses regarding the apportionment if those costs to the price of each engine, will be preserved. If not, I suggest that he do make steps to do so. Thielert engine owners have a legitimate claim against the company -- having paid cash in advance for the future work and repairs on for the period included in the warranty. Taken altogether, the financial stake of the customer group is rather large and certainly a matter that can not be ignored or swept under the rug.

Posted by: Ken Shapero | May 28, 2008 9:49 AM    Report this comment

Not long ago one of the geniuses at Flying had an editorial that essentially said that all aviation innovation had been driven by companies with a good idea going bankrupt, being revived, going bankrupt again until finally a sustainable model was reached. They seemed to think this was a fine idea, although they didn't actually seem to consider that much of this "R&D" was being financed by the creditors. I didn't think much of the idea myself.

Thielert is another example of creditors and customers financing aviation R&D. Either it is an unsustainable model and it'll die, or new people will finance the next lurch forward with the next bankruptcy yet to come.

Diamond of course sees a lot of advantage to spreading fear within the marketplace, if they are working on an alternative engine there's nothing like forcing your competitor (Thielert) out of business so you can run a monopoly.

Posted by: Matthew Waugh | May 28, 2008 10:15 AM    Report this comment

Reply to above... Did Diamond create a new engine because it wanted to squeeze out Thielert or did they see the writting on the wall long before anyone else? I'll bet that Diamond saw that the engine model wasn't working and that the operating cost was through the roof and that the only solution for them was to design a new motor. I'm sure that they have their hands full designing new airplanes and have no desire to get into the engine business. Now they don't have much choice. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes with that many motors out there in their planes.

Posted by: Marc Charron | May 28, 2008 10:31 AM    Report this comment

Matthew, let's keep it realistic, OK? Diamond is not "forcing out" Thielert, and has not a snowball's chance in Hades of "running a monopoly" in diesel engines or in anything else.

A free and capitalistic market is driven by people risking their money (investment capital) to try stuff which they believe will work and make money. It is true that many ventures fail for every one that succeeds, but that's life and the investors took that risk consciously. The creditors lend money based on an expectation of repayment and an analysis of the debtor's financial statements and business performance. They also face a risk of non-repayment that they accept consciously. Customers help companies to either succeed or fail by buying (or not buying) the products.

Any of the above free-market mechanisms can fail in the presence of fraud, theft, and lies. And those reasons are why we have contracts, warranties, guarantees (not the same thing), and a judicial system by which to demand restitution from companies that violate what the law requires of them.

Like it or not, fail-fail-fail-fail-succeed is how things get invented and how new things succeed. That is why successful innovators make a lot of money! There must be a reward to make people accept the risk.

Posted by: Rodolfo Paiz | May 28, 2008 7:12 PM    Report this comment

Re: The Thielert Mess

Short term solution: Come up with Lycoming or Continental conversions, preferably several of each, and let competition with them adjust the price of Thielert's remaining stock. Then Thielert/Kubler will either lower their prices, or be stuck with some odd sized paper weights.

Long term solution: Never buy an airplane with oddball engines unless the factory also offers a model certified with Lycomings or Continentals.

Ultimate solution: Construct a set of rules of fair play in business, complete with a set of agents who will enforce those rules without exception, such that potential violators will know without doubt that they will be found out and severly punished. Since the government based model clearly isn't working, it will have to be a commercial free enterprise based system. Those who want its protection will pay for it, like an insurance policy. Harsh? Only until people develop some moral fiber, a sense of right and wrong, instead of the current standard, which seems to be anything you can get away with is by definition OK. There will be some squawking from the lawyers, for intruding on their to date exclusive franchise. Sorry guys, your way ain't getting it done, so now it's time to try something else. (Getting it done being defined as providing justice to the wronged, not making your boat payment). In this specific situation, German law prohibiting the assumption of warranties does not make it right.

Posted by: David Bogart | May 29, 2008 9:39 AM    Report this comment

I used to have a deposit with Diamond to buy a DA-42. Just in case any Diamond executives or sales reps are reading this blog, I wanted you to see my name here and remember me.

I'm the guy you all hated so much on the Diamond forum that you got the administrator to ban me, even though I owned a Diamond DA-40 at the time.

And for the rest of you reading this, the reason I was banned was for the sin of writing and posting the truth about the TwinStar. Wow, did they have some nasty things to say about me.

So, I cancelled my DA-42 deposit, my DA-40 has been sold and I now own a Beech Baron. They've been building those for nearly 50 years!

Always, always, always, in my "negative" posts, my hope was that you folks would listen and make changes. Instead, you found it simpler to "kill the messenger." I hope that I at least drove off a good number of potential TwinStar customers before they got stuck with a very expensive static display aircraft.

Why didn't you heed my posts and fix the problems?

Posted by: Ron Wagner | May 29, 2008 10:29 AM    Report this comment

1) Maybe I'm wrong but I thought that there was an option to buy a DA-42 with Lyc 360.

2) I don't think that Thielert had a clever plan to build a company and bankrupt it to make a bunch of money. I think that a lot of things went wrong and the company failed. Many people were hurt (screwed) but it wasn't the deliberate master plan. They are BANKRUPT. There's no money left. Even if they wanted to honor their warranties, they can't. It's BANKRUPT.

3) You might then say that Diamond should honor the warranties. How could they. That would make Diamond go bankrupt. Who would that serve? And further, how is it Diamond's fault?

4) Never buy an unproven design? OK that makes sense...or if you do...you take the chances. Mine is 40 year old Bananza and there are 10,000 of those out there. That is surely a lot safer.

Posted by: Marc Charron | May 29, 2008 10:43 AM    Report this comment

If Thielert "only" went bankrupt, it would be bad enough. The trick is that they are suspected of cooking their books prior to their IPO and that has nothing to do with the woes of the brave entrepreneur failing beacuse of tough luck. Yes Diamond saw the writing on the wall, the new engine they are presenting now must have been in development for at least 12 months during which they sold DA42s and DA40s. I dont understand their lack of preparation for the maintenance disaster which will soon materialise - I fear that hundreds of planes will be grounded for a loooong time - the first Austro engines will definitely go into new planes, not upgrades... Did someone notice this sentence in Dr Kubler's recent reaction? He is suggesting that Diamond's liability is a given in Europe, regardless of the contracts with customers. Or did I get this wrong? Sad...

Posted by: Antoine Edde | May 29, 2008 2:02 PM    Report this comment

Here the sentence in Dr Kubler's commmunication:

For this reason we hope that the airplane manufacturers will step into the breach here. In the European legal realm this represents a valid obligation in any case.

Posted by: Antoine Edde | May 29, 2008 2:09 PM    Report this comment

What does Superior Parts have to do with this? Just wondering because I have a millenium cylinder kit on order - no one seems to have one here in the US.

Posted by: Penny Litz | May 29, 2008 2:27 PM    Report this comment

Penny, Superior's present parent is Thielert. It purchased Superior a year or so ago. I don't think that there is an immediate danger but the long term outlook is a little more in the fog.

Posted by: Al Dyer | May 29, 2008 2:55 PM    Report this comment

Doesn't the bk trustee have control over the subsidiaries, too? Why would it be only the parent company?

Posted by: Penny Litz | May 29, 2008 4:33 PM    Report this comment

From Superior's web site:

Today, Superior Air Parts is owned by Thielert AG, of Hamburg , Germany . Thielert is a global leader in the development, manufacturing and distribution of advanced jet fuel piston engines for the general aviation market. This solid foundation allows us to enjoy a very stable and healthy position, which will permit us to continue to expand our product offerings to meet the needs of our customers.

Posted by: Rob Olson | May 30, 2008 3:00 PM    Report this comment

Dr K bler is the insolvency administrator of Thielert Aircraft Engines, GmbH, which is the company manufacturing the engines. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Thielert AG, the adminsitrative and financial mother company (counting only about 25 employees). Thielert AG has also declared itself insolvent, but is under the administration of ANOTHER INSOLVENCY ADMINISTRATOR. The future of Superior Airparts is therefore being handled in a separate procedure.

Posted by: Francois Badoux | May 31, 2008 4:29 AM    Report this comment

So, there is a problem, then, with Superior. I wonder what the chances are that I will ever see the cylinder kit I have on order. Does anyone know anything about their "procedure"?

Posted by: Penny Litz | May 31, 2008 9:25 AM    Report this comment

Penny, your cylinder kit is probably fine and you have little to worry about. The fact that Superior is owned by a company that is broke does not automatically mean that Superior is broke too. In almost every company on Earth, subsidiaries handle their own money and their own business, and the only cash transactions to/from their owners are (1) investing more money or (2) declaring dividends.

Although I cannot guarantee that, of course, I would guess the probability of Superior's operations being affected is less than 1%. Your cylinder kit is probably fine, Superior is probably doing business-as-usual with no hiccups, and you likely have nothing to worry about.

Posted by: Rodolfo Paiz | May 31, 2008 2:30 PM    Report this comment

Thanks

Posted by: Penny Litz | May 31, 2008 2:42 PM    Report this comment

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